30 April, 2008

I Thai-ed My Best

This guy Thaksin Shinawatra is a bit of a slippery customer to say the least. Surely being ousted as the President of Thailand by a military coup was a bit of a red flag to all Manchester City fans that he perhaps doesn’t fly straight, but recent talk now suggest that he’s completely lost the plot at Eastlands. After just one pretty impressive season, the word on the street is that manager Sven-Goran Eriksson is to face the chop in the summer after failing to produce instant results and presumably winning Premier League. Admittedly the Sky Blues have suffered a post-Christmas slump, and a couple of Sven’s big money signings haven’t come to fruition, but for a first season Sven has done remarkably well to mesh together a group of players who’d never played together before, even scoring a historic double over local rivals Manchester United. As The Telegraph perhaps rightly pointed out today, this is a sign of not being fit to run the club, as surely just ignoring the fans completely shows how little idea some foreign owners have of the passion within English football?

Now however furious players are lining up to follow the Swede and quit City. Club captain Richard Dunne will be among them, as will his defensive partner Micah Richards, and promising young English midfielder Michael Johnson. Playmakers Elano and Martin Petrov will also be looking elsewhere, after joining the club basically only on Sven’s desire to sign them, and the ex-England coach’s reputation. Eriksson’s long-time colleague Tord Grip confirmed today that they will definitely be out at the end of the season: “I don’t think the owner has been patient enough. We think that we have done it well. It hasn’t been that good after Christmas but there is always ups and downs in football. The Premier League is like a marathon. It takes time to build up a team that will be competitive in the Premier League.” According to The Sun, the normally cool Sven had a blazing row with Shinawatra in a meeting on Sunday, apparently sparked by Shinawatra’s refusal to allow Eriksson any say in the summer’s transfer dealings, a state of affairs which contradicts his contract with the club.

It is not just players who are pissed off though, with a fans’ revolt potentially on the cards should Shinawatra attempt to install a puppet in the summer for him to pull the strings of. Obviously all the usual names such as Rikjaard and Scolari are being thrown around as potential replacements, with STT favourite Slaven Bilic’s name also in the ring, but chances are none of these men will satisfy the mutiny should all of the above players leave. Head of this loose collective is famous City fan Noel Gallagher, who said Shinawatra must be “living in cloud cuckoo land” if he thinks sacking the manager is a good idea.

Speaking to BBC Radio Five Live, Gallagher continued:

“To get rid of him after the best season I can remember is ridiculous. It can't be for any footballing reasons. For a club that's been going nowhere fast for the last 25 years…he turned it around and gave us a bit of style and dignity and grace. He bought some great players. The fans have got pride back in the club… I just think it's beyond a joke.

“This guy Shinawatra has come in and he seems like a bit of a nutcase. The only thing that will get him off the hook is if he's got Mourinho lined up. Apart from Mourinho Eriksson's the best thing out there. I'd be amazed and appalled if I met a City fan who thought getting rid of Eriksson was a good thing. They all love him up there. I'd give him a big kiss and say, ‘You know what, you take them to the cleaners.’”

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